Working as a nurse in Finland
Planning to move to Finland for work?
OBS! Notice the changed circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please see information on the current situation and restrictions. See also the guidelines for border traffic during pandemic.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment offers you important basic information on the issues you need to consider before moving to Finland. Take into account that if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you must have a job before you move to Finland. If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you can move to Finland and search for a job during a period of three months.
In Finland you have to have a licence to practice as a nurse. Therefore, when aiming to work as a nurse in Finland, you need to contact first the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) in order to apply for the right to practice.
For vacancies you can also contact directly Finnish employers. You can contact e.g. any of the five University Hospitals in Helsinki, Kuopio, Turku, Oulu or Tampere. Furthermore, there are regional hospitals and local hospitals, such as city hospitals. Health centre in-patient wards may also be called hospitals. Private hospitals supplement the public services for example by providing day surgeries.
Municipal social welfare and health care services form the basis of the Finnish social welfare and health care system. Private companies also provide services alongside the public sector. In addition, Finland has a wide range of social welfare and health care organisations, providing services both free of charge and for a fee. See more.
The pages of Info Bank contain important basic information for immigrants on the functioning of society and opportunities in Finland.
SIMHE Services (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education) are for immigrants to recognize their competencies and to guide them for suitable educational and career paths. The purpose is to ensure that the previous studies and degrees of highly educated immigrants are identified and recognised according to national policies as quickly as possible so that these people find their way to appropriate education and careers paths. See more precisely on Metropolia University of Applied Sciences web page: information on the SIMHE services and guidance and councelling services.
In addition to SIMHE, there are unfortunately at the moment hardly any clear, nation wide, and permanent services for nurses from outside EU-countries to offer paths to acquire the licence to work in Finland as a nurse.
To practice as a nurse in Finland
The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) grants, upon application, the right to practice as a licenced or authorised professional and authorises the use of the occupational title of healthcare professional.
Valvira registers all persons granted professional practice rights in the Terhikki-register and also maintains information on all registered nurses. A person practicing as a healthcare professional in Finland without a licence may be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment.
In addition, all medical or health care professionals working in Finland must be able to speak well enough either Finnish or Swedish. See information on Finnish and Swedish language courses for adults. Or maybe you would like to familiarize yourself and to practice with some videos first?
National legislation closely regulates the education and professional practice of health care personnel. Nursing training in Finland is also based on the European Union’s Directive 2005/36/EC,amended by Directive 2013/55/EU. Therefore, the requirements in Finland are similar to those of elsewhere in the European Union and other collaborating European countries. See the national list of competencies for a nurse responsible for general care, page 60 in English. Also a new national curricula is on its way.
Information on Finnish health care system you will find e.g. on the web page of Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The EU-Healthcare.fi page contains many useful links and clear information on the service system in Finland. The brochure of Finnish Nurses Association also includes many facts and figures on Finnish health care, and more spefically on nursing .
The Study in Finland –website offers a lot of information on Finnish higher education possibilities for international students.
See also a useful brochure Foreign nurse's guide to Finnish working life, drawn up at the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences by Taina Kilpeläinen.
As soon as you have registered as a nurse in Finland by Valvira, you can apply for the membership of the Finnish Nurses Association and of Tehy, the Finnish Union of Health and Social Care Professionals. Membership is voluntary, but highly recommended.